Little boy dies after ingesting cinnamon. Mom wants “to let people know cinnamon can kill”

[Read the post]

“This is not the first time that ‘The Cinnamon Challenge’ viral phenomenon has been linked to deaths and serious injuries in young people.”

Except that they admit in the story that it was unrelated and they go on to relate it anyway.


There isn’t a unicorn big enough.


Sola dosis facit venenum. Everything is poisonous in high enough dose.


Wait - did he have an allergic reaction? How much did he put in to his mouth and how? Like from the bottle?


Not really a poisoning even. I mean there’s quite a few household products that are pretty much non-toxic even for the whole container’s volume that don’t taste good, but can cause asphyxiation in the same way. For instance talc, or corn starch, or flour, or powdered drink mixes.

Although I’d expect cinnamon’s ability to badly irritate and rapidly dry out mucous membranes can make it especially hazardous in absurd amounts.


Also beware of coumarins-rich cassia that’s often peddled as true cinnamon.


Matthew’s mother want his death, although not related to the Cinnamon Challenge, to serve as a warning for others.

This is not the first time that “The Cinnamon Challenge” viral
phenomenon has been linked to deaths and serious injuries in young

So, it’s not any time.

Cinnamon causes irritation to mucous membranes whether or not there’s an allergic reaction. And aspirating it into your lungs puts a very irritating substance onto vitally important mucous membranes that are very hard to clear. Coughing can only do so much when your suffocating from the inflammation in your lungs. I mean, have you ever gotten a little cinnamon in your eye? It’s pretty much as painful as pepper spray. Now imagine some of that powder got directly into your lungs… And you’re a toddler and don’t have the mental faculties to understand what’s going on… Bad stuff can happen really quickly.

So… No allergic reaction required?


Someone finally pushed Cinnamon too far.


Or, you know, don’t, as we have the enzymes necessary to metabolize it properly without producing the toxic by-products that harmed the rats on which it was tested, since they lack a key metabolic pathway that is present in humans.

To paraphrase David Mitchell: Cassia is demonstrably fine.


very true same thing could have happened from a lot of different powders and sprays found around the house…cinnamon is a bad one though as it is also very hydrophobic so the coating resists being dissolved and dispersed into the tissue.

diatomaceous earth is another one to avoid inhaling.


People have dies from dares involving drinking water or eating salt or salty food. Anything that messes with your electrolytes can kill.

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@xeni shouldn’t this headline read “inhaling”?

it was the inhaling of dried powdered cinnamon specifically that was the issue. if they want to get the word out that is a key piece of information that is crucial. i know technically ingesting has a broader definition, but to many it means “eat” which wasn’t the cause.

also, so sad. i cannot imagine losing a child. much heartfelt sympathy to his family.


Or - people could be aware of it to avoid being duped into using the wrong plant.

As I understand it that’s very much the risk here. Not only does it block things up and choke you in the same “i am a powder” sort of way. But the irritation causes your mucous membranes to dry up, preventing it from getting washed away by saliva while causing your throat to close off. To make matters worse cinnamon of any type is also a mild but rapid thickener. Not like flour or corn starch, which require some heat to get their thicken on. But the kind that thickens up instantly on contact with moisture. So whatever moisture is still around just thickens up with the cinnamon to form a viscous plug of spicy death. Lot of “explainers” on the subject during the whole cinnamon challenge thing.

@shaddack Its less common these days to call out cassia as “fake” cinnamon. Both cassia and verum are technically cinnamon. As are several other species from the genus (Cinnamomum). And any of those may be refereed to and marketed as cinnamon. Substituting verum in a recipe that traditionally uses cassia is just as “wrong” as the other way around. They all have their uses. And depending on which culinary tradition, region, or even specific dish any of the varieties might be the appropriate one. Or there might not be a specific appropriate one, it might be loose enough for personal preference to take over. More often these days I’m seeing just “cinnamon” with some sort of qualify or explanation appended. Whether that’s species name or regional markers like Mexican, Chinese, Ceylon etc. Though as to how jars are labeled? It usually just says “cinnamon”, unless its an expensive brand. Then it usually claims to be “real” cinnamon in some way or labeled with a regional name. I check the ingredients, specific species is often listed.

But generally cassia is the most common variety in western/anglophone countries. The cinnamon challenge was meant to be done with cassia. Lack of any connection to the challenge not withstanding I’m willing to bet its what this kid grabbed.


Also, it’s a sticky powdery blob with no definite shape, so trying to dislodge it with the Heimlich maneuver can be very hit and miss as well, since the plug can just break at an edge while keeping its blobby shape and let the high-pressure air whistle through, then close back up and keep integrity against the much smaller force of the vacuum that the diaphragm produces. Like a one-way valve.

Like I said viscous blob of spicy death, its kind of an all round bad news kind of thing. Probably one of the worst “harmless” house hold items I could imagine over cramming your gob with.

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unfortunately, you can die from inhaling any powdery substance.

what we might get now is warning labels on cinnamon, the addition of cinnamon to the list of Controlled Substances, and people being detained for cinnamon-flavoured cereal.